Independent Project Pathway

Student-designed projects in the creatives arts, humanities, education, policy, and social sciences.

Four Types of Projects

A mentor with two students discussing

Four Types of Projects

  • Creative work - examples include studio art, directing a theatre production, and creative writing
  • Scholarship - examples include archival research and document- or text-based analysis
  • Field-based studies - examples include case studies, participant-observation, community outreach, and action research*
  • Research projects - examples include developing and implementing surveys and conducting statistical analysis of data*

Other types of projects may be considered, with the following exceptions:

  • Professionally-focused internships are not generally supported through this program.
  • The program does not generally support projects that are focused on syllabus design, unless the Scholar can provide concrete plans for when/how they will teach the syllabus in the following academic year. 

*If your field-based or research project involves living human beings, whether in a face-to-face or online survey context, you must submit the project design for review and approval by the Human Subjects Institutional Review Board (IRB) at IC before your project begins in the summer. If you're not sure whether your project falls into this category, you can reach out directly to the IRB for clarification ( 

Project Characteristics

Student-designed independent projects are those in which you

  • Pursue an original project where the outcome or answer is unknown.
  • Generate direction for the project in collaboration with a faculty mentor.
  • Take ownership and responsibility for the work.
  • Strive to meet professional standards appropriate to the discipline.
  • Engage and/or share outcomes with the wider disciplinary or local community.
  • Are guided by consistent and active faculty mentoring.
  • Practice structured reflection throughout the project with guidance from your faculty mentor.

The Faculty Review Committee will also consider projects in which the faculty member has designed the scope of the project, as long as you have a significant role in the collaboration.

What makes a strong application?

The Review Committee considers the following criteria in their review of applications:

  • Proposals that are professionally written, that clearly express your voice, and that persuasively describe your ownership of/leadership role in the project.
  • Projects that have a clear and coherent design, including both well-defined goals and feasible implementation plans.
  • Evidence that you have sufficient preparation (through coursework or previous experience) to effectively engage in the project.
  • Evidence that you have collaborated with your faculty mentor on the project design and there is a clear plan for active mentoring by your faculty mentor. (Note: your faculty mentor must also submit an application).

In addition to these criteria, the Program also endeavors to have a variety of disciplines represented by the Scholars' projects, and gives preference to students who have not yet had the opportunity to be a Summer Scholar


Please review the Program Expectations and Eligibility Requirements on Information for Students before submitting your application.  

All students apply to the H&S Summer Scholars Program via an online application form. You must log in with your IC netpass to access the form. You may start your application, save it, and return to keep working on it, before you submit it.

A template of this year's application form for you to review in advance is available below.  

We'll begin accepting applications for Summer 2024 on November 13, 2023.

file-outline 2024 Template for Independent Scholar Application - 2024_scholar_app_creative.pdf (140.24 KB)

This document is a PDF version of the application. Do not submit this template - use the application link to the live form to submit.

file-outline 2024 Template for Independent Project Faculty Application - independentproject_faculty_app.pdf (360.3 KB)

This is a PDF template version of the application that the faculty. You will receive a link to the faculty mentor application form once the student applicant finishes their application.

Sample Independent Project Portfolios

Our Scholars develop ePortfolios to document and reflect on their experiences at the conclusion of the summer. Below is a selection from the past two summers. 

Creative WorkHarleigh Myerovich '22 English and Writing

Field-Based Studies - Rachael Geary '21, Anthropology

Scholarship - Hailee Agosti '22, English with Teaching Option

Research - Zoe Hadley '21, Sociology

Deadlines 2024
Application Opens   November 13, 2023
Application Deadline

February 28, 2024 (Applications closed)

Awards Announced By April 12, 2024
Confirmation of Participation April 19, 2024
Program Dates May 29 - July 26, 2024